Louie and I have been driving up a storm! We've hooked about a dozen times now, and he's becoming quite the pro! I have been driving him by myself, and with little warm-up in the long lines as he is just showing that he is so comfortable in the cart.
We had our last lesson with Steve last week and Louie did great. We went outside to tackle the front of the barn one more time and Louie didn't even bat an eye. He did great, so we worked on a little bit of walking and trotting up and down the driveway, then headed down the far bend of the driveway towards the road. Everything was fine, there was a car that drove by behind us just after we got turned around and Louie got slightly startled by it (he is easily startled by cars- always has been, especially when they are driving fast), and he looked for me for reassurance, I told him he was okay, then he continued on. This, for Steve, was reaffirmation of why Louie is just so much better in an open bridle right now, as if he hadn't been able to look back and see me, he may have really panicked with that noise behind him. Anyhow, we got the free rein to drive as we please and we have continued to progress- in working on a slow jog, regular trot, and an extended trot, we're turning tighter circles now- actually this week we turned about a 4 foot-diameter circle around a jump standard, and we also weaved around some ground poles with no difficulty at all.
We have some new boarders at the barn who have carriage driving and dressage Morgans. The carriage drivers are starting to peak my interest in carriage driving, as I think Louie could excel at this. I must do more research to figure out what it's all about, but that is definitely a possibility for us, even though at this point driving is mainly just for conditioning. But it would be fun to compete someday- in something. . .
For the last week or so we've been taking it a little bit easy in our workouts as Louie's feet have suddenly had a growth spurt and all of a sudden he ended up with 4 very different feet, with his front angles opposite one another, and I worry about injuries due to that. Our awesome farrier Pat was out today though, and got him cleaned up so now we can resume our normal working routine.
Last night, for the first time ever, I rode Louie bareback. This is always an interesting experience for a youngster as they're not used to feeling a human's butt directly on their backs, but Louie did great. It has been years since I've ridden bareback, so my skills have definitely declined, but Louie took care of me. Well- except for when he would suddenly turn his head/neck to look one way, then throw his body the opposite way- that just about shook me off of him a few times. :) But we did a little walking, jogging (which was great, by the way), and even a little posting trot. I am amazed at how wide and flat Louie's back is- when I was sitting comfortably in semi-normal equitation, my legs made zero contact with his body from about 4 inches above my knees, all the way down to my feet! That's because of his wide back.
Speaking of his wide back, we are finally going to take our saddle fitting woes into control! We are having Cordia Pearson (the master saddlefitter) out to do an evaluation for us on Monday! I am very excited for this, as I am hopeful she will at least be able to lead us in the right direction in finding a saddle that works for us. I am going to have her look at a few used saddles as well as a few saddles that she carries that she has had good luck with fitting other similar build horses in the past. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll have luck!
Anyhow, that's the update in the past 2 weeks of the life of Louie and Leah. It's been crazy busy, so I'm sorry, I did not mean to neglect the blog! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming!